‘That’s so Berkeley’: Our stereotype might be a little true

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Daphne Chen/File

We are sure you have a lot of preconceptions of what Berkeley is all about. We hear it all the time. We’ll be with our J. Crew-clad high school friends and mention how awkward it is when we run into last night’s hook-up in the residence hall’s coed bathroom when they all look at us and laugh: “Wow, only in Berkeley!” We force a giggle, but inside we’re beaming, because we know that although Berkeley may in some ways exemplify the hippy-dippy stereotype, we are so much more. What is it that makes us “so Berkeley?” A lot of things. But stereotypes often stem from reality, so we have compiled a list of things that non-UC Berkeley kids didn’t get — and that maybe even we didn’t get — before we ourselves became “so Berkeley.”

  1. Wearing Birkenstocks
  2. Wearing Birkenstocks with socks
  3. Wearing Birkenstocks any time
  4. Coed bathrooms
  5. Using nongendered pronouns
  6. Boba
  7. Doing your homework outside
  8. Shopping at Goodwill
  9. Squirrels everywhere
  10. Squirrels coming up to you and trying to eat your food
  11. Hiking
  12. Composting in the dining hall
  13. Vegan options in the dining hall
  14. Smoking something
  15. Poppin’ peacies
  16. Round “hippie” sunglasses
  17. Tie-dye
  18. Having your computer science major friends fix your laptop
  19. Ordering cheesy sticks from West Coast Pizza
  20. Using the term “the Man” to reference authority figures
  21. Eating organic
  22. Eating vegetarian
  23. Eating vegan
  24. Listening to podcasts while you work out
  25. Listening to indie music
  26. Cutting your hair in a “hip” way
  27. Dying your hair an unnatural color
  28. Dreadlocks
  29. Saying fun facts all the time
  30. Mentioning any current event
  31. Being offended by offensive things (i.e. cultural appropriation, slut shaming, unfit uses of the word “gay,” etc.)
  32. Reading “The Communist Manifesto” for class
  33. Not shaving
  34. Hair wraps
  35. Knowing all of the Sproul Plaza regulars by name — or, at least, by nickname (Fishing Pole Guy, guy with megaphone, etc.)
  36. Using “going to a protest” as a reason for an excused absence (and actually getting it excused)
  37. “No smoking on campus” only applying to tobacco
  38. Talking to homeless people daily
  39. Knowing someone who’s been punched by a homeless man
  40. Actually studying during dead week instead of using the week off to party
  41. Talking about “House of Cards” at fraternity parties
  42. Studying between game days and nighttime festivities
  43. Skipping class to do homework
  44. Having to leave the library because the person sitting next to you hasn’t showered for at least two weeks
  45. Applied math majors determining the precise angle of beer pong throws
  46. Staying up all night in Wheeler Hall to protest tuition hikes
  47. People’s Park
  48. Random llamas on campus
  49. Midterm questions that are so hard that even the GSIs get them wrong
  50. Having a hodgepodge of so many different, interesting and totally brilliant people surrounding you at all times — because, at the end of the day, that’s what makes us all “so Berkeley.”

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Contact Pressly Pratt at [email protected].